From £23,4757
Ford is steadily improving it's much maligned baby SUV. This 138bhp Titanium S model will complete the revamp when it arrives next June

What is it?

We tend to like Ford products here at Autocar; generally speaking, when you get behind the wheel of something with a blue oval mounted on the airbag, it's likely to be a decent thing to drive.

So you can imagine our shock-horror when we drove the original Ford Ecosport and sensed immediately that it was a bit of a woofer.

To Ford’s credit it read, it ruminated and it responded, instructing its engineers to make good all that was wrong – which, from our point of view, was mainly the ride, handling and refinement.

As a result the new Ecosport comes with retuned steering, suspension that’s been lowered by 10mm and new damper and spring rates. More sound insulation has been added, too.

Then Ford really got the bit between its teeth and started developing an even sportier version, called Titanium S, which we've driven in prototype form. This model gets firmer suspension and meatier steering, plus revisions to the stability control to make it less intrusive.

What's it like?

The engine is a cracker – raspy, revvy and, while not flat-out fast, rapid enough for general use. But UK-spec cars will be quicker still – by about one second to 62mph. This is because instead of the 123bhp Ecoboost fitted to this European-spec car (the same as the one used on standard Ecosport models), UK-bound Titanium S models will get the gutsier 138bhp version found in the Fiesta Red/Black Edition.

At sedate town speeds the ride seems disappointing. Hit a sharp ridge and you’ll be greeted by a hefty shudder through the cabin, and as you potter about over patchy roads the Ecosport performs a constant dance.

However, get some speed up along a country road and it starts to settle. Here you can feel the difference between old and new, with tighter lean angles as the cornering loads build and less vertical hop off crests.

In fact, if you add in the marginally quicker steering that’s got more effective weighting, you find yourself quite enjoying the drive – certainly more so than would be the case in a Nissan Juke.

But the Ecosport is still far away from the true genius of a Fiesta, and there are still some issues.

The extra sound deadening may have hidden some of the old car’s road noise, but at around 60mph you can still hear plenty of wind swirling around the door mirrors. A big sideways gust will have you hanging onto the wheel if you want to keep to your lane, too.

Ford did tell us they’ve improved the interior quality as part of the upgrade, but apart from some fetching half-leather seats, it’s still a sea of black plastic – and all of it likely to break a finger nail if you prod it too hard.

It’s relatively roomy, though. You can fit four tall adults in with reasonable ease, and those in the back even get reclining seats. The boot isn’t huge but will take a few large grocery bags and can be extended courtesy of the spilt/folding rear seats.

The Titanium S pack is likely to come with a reversing camera as well as an upgraded Sony stereo with DAB and Bluetooth. It will also get a ‘Black Pack’, which includes gloss black alloys, roof and door mirrors, plus no roof rails for a sleeker look. Oh, and the ungainly spare wheel that used to hang off the tailgate has gone, too.

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Should I buy one?

It’s still not perfect, and with our sensible hat on the Renault Captur does the practical stuff slightly better and rides more smoothly. Then there’s the price, which is mooted to be around £17,500. It doesn’t exactly sound like a bargain, but we don’t know the final UK equipment levels yet.

This isn’t a class that’s known for great driver’s cars, so the fact that the new and improved Ecosport in Titanium S trim manages to even slightly entertain is a big plus – and that’s without the full-fat engine that’ll be coming our way next year when deliveries start around June. On that basis we reckon that at the very least it'll be worth a look.

Ford Ecosport 1.0T 140 Titanium S

Price £17,500 (est); Engine 3 cyls, 999cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 138bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 155lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox 5-spd manual; Kerb weight na; Top speed 117mph; 0-62mph 11.8sec; Economy 50.4mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 125g/km, 20%

John Howell

John Howell
Title: Senior reviewer

John is a freelance automotive journalist with more than a decade of experience in the game. He’s written for most of the big car mags, not least as a road tester for Autocar and as deputy reviews editor for our sister brand, What Car?. He was also the features editor at PistonHeads and headed its YouTube channel.

Cars, driving and machines are in his blood. When he was barely a teenager he was creating race-bale racetracks on his family’s farm – to thrash an old Humber Sceptre around. It broke regularly, of course, which meant he got a taste (and love) for repairing cars. That’s why he eschewed university, choosing instead to do an apprenticeship with a Jaguar dealer. That’s where he built up his technical understanding.  

After that he moved into high-end car sales, selling Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, Ferraris and Maseratis through the franchised network. But it was a love of writing and appraising cars that, eventually, led him to use his industry experience to prise open the door of motoring journalism. He loves cars that exceed their brief in some way. So he finds as much pleasure in testing a great, but humble, hatchback as he does sampling the latest Ferrari on track. Honest.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Haybabe1 16 October 2016

Love It

I have just taken delivery of a brand new Ecosport Titanium S and i love it, although i do agree the seats are on the small side compared to the Fiesta Titanium X which i have owned for the last 3 years. It has a great driving position (better than the Fiesta) great view of the road ahead and it has much more room than the Fiesta. The interior plastics are a little bit cheap but you can't tell from the look, it's only when you touch you can feel the difference. It's a comfortable ride you don't feel the bumps and it's quite nippy for an SUV. My car is white with the black roof, wheels and mirrors which i think looks great. The tailgate door opening to the side hasn't caused me any problems as yet. The people who give very negative comments probably haven't driven the new revised version. Try it you might like it!
michael knight 20 November 2015


piss-poor performance figure for that engine..
Ski Kid 20 November 2015

wheel better on the back

assume a load of bootspace is now lost to house the spare .
Adrian987 20 November 2015

Going spare....

Maybe there is a can of gunk now, and no spare. Just what you need in an "off-roader".

jonfortwo wrote:

It looks ridiculous.

The "on stilts" look might appeal to some...